Saving Country Music’s Official Stance on SOPA (A Rant)

As you probably have noticed, the internet today is all agog over this proposed legislation called SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act. I’ll spare you the details, you can find them many places online if you wish. What I want to deal with is the propaganda being perpetuated by the opponents of this legislation, and to explain how I would react even if this law was passed, and all of the propaganda was true.

Right now it is extremely popular for blog sites like this one to be adamantly opposed to SOPA, and to help spread the “message” of what the law “might” do. You will find it difficult to impossible to find a site like this that is off-message, but Saving Country Music is one of them. Make no mistake, I know this will not be an unpopular stance, but I do not run a fucking popularity contest, I run a website where I’ve promised to my readers that I will be as honest with them as I can be at all times.

The official Saving Country Music stance on SOPA is that I am vaguely opposed to some elements of the legislation that may have unintended consequences. But Saving Country Music is NOT participating in the internet blackout, and I will NOT be signing any petition.

Let me reassure you that Saving Country Music would not be censored by SOPA, or any other law for that matter, not because a law may or may not have provisions that may attempt to censor this site, but because I would not allow that to happen. Rich people in suits 3000 miles away can not, and will not censor me. The only thing that would censor me would be a bullet in my fucking head, and that’s not grandstanding. The right to free speech is worth dying for, and I would be honored to die for it. Especially since my death, as it would anyone’s willing to die for free speech, would do nothing but rally my cause, and spread my subversive message more than I ever could alive.

If Saving Country Music was censored, I would move the site to an offshore server. If the offshore server was shut down, I would write my blogs out long hand and broadcast them through a bullhorn on street corners. If I was sued, I wouldn’t pay. If people trespassed on my property to seize assets or arrest me, I would shoot them. If I was shot and killed in retaliation, I will have died for a good cause. So their stupid fucking laws and whatever consequences they may or may not entail are completely inconsequential to me.

And don’t bother me with your propaganda or plastic banana causes; I’m too busy writing. Though I may identify more with the opposition of SOPA than the proponents, the lies being spread by some SOPA opponents, saying how the whole web is going to be censored and entire sects of it will disappear is absolute fucking nonsensical bullshit. It is LIES and FEAR and PROPAGANDA meant to polarize.

The point of the SOPA opposition propaganda is no different than any other propaganda. It is meant to engage and polarize the public so that money continues to flood into the political industrial complex to prop up the political industry’s infrastructure and executive salaries. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, and all the other entities that have banded together to oppose this legislation should be fucking ashamed of themselves for spreading lies and fear, and resorting to guerrilla, pop-social tactics to spread a “hey ninny ninny the sky is falling” message that creates a “boy cried wolf” mentality in the mainstream public, and whose “unintended consequence” will be the ignoring of future actions when there actually is something significant at stake, just like how the perpetual “Occupy” protests accomplished diluting the effectiveness of protesting itself.

Make no fucking mistake about it, Google and Facebook’s fight is not about censorship, it is about MONEY, no different than it is for SOPA proponents. Unlike many of the millions who have signed petitions against SOPA because it was cool, I have actually read the law, and followed the story from the beginning, and have kept up on the updates and amendments to it. Nowhere in the current SOPA legislation is there any wording, directly or indirectly, that talks about censoring anything, and furthermore, the US government does not have jurisdiction over offshore servers even if it did, which is the reason legislation like this was deemed necessary by some in the first place.

The penalty trigger that would be enacted if websites were found to be engaging in piracy of one form or another would be to shut off the revenue from ads, many of which are administrated by Google. That is why Google, and sites like Facebook who rely on ad revenue from Google, are so opposed to SOPA. For example, The Pirate Bay works from an offshore server. They don’t make any money distributing copyrighted material, they make money off of Google ads. The idea with SOPA is to cut off The Pirate Bay’s revenue stream through Google, and hope they will whither on the vine.

Saving Country Music has the same type of Google ads that The Pirate Bay, Facebook, and many other sites do. If the Google ads were removed, which would be the strongest penalty the SOPA law would be allowed to enact, then guess what would happen: nothing. I write about music because I love it. Not from the pennies I get from Google clicks. In fact losing the Google ads might be a good thing, because it may motivate me to spend more time looking for independent sponsors.

On January 13th, the portion of SOPA that required ISP’s to restrict access to sites that were deemed to have pirated material was taken out of the bill. In other words, even sites who exclusively deal in pirated material, like The Pirate Bay, etc., would still be up, and by law, could still be seen by users. The only thing that would be restricted would be payments to and from advertisers like Google. The people spoke, and for once, Congress listened. But Google/Facebook is still going with their original propaganda argument as if the bill was never changed. If the ISP restriction provision was still in the bill, I would have participated in the blackout.

If you want to find someone to be angry with, in my opinion, you should be angry with The Pirate Bay and other sites like it, and the assholes that keep them in business by stealing copyrighted material. To the detriment of Saving Country Music and my own personal enjoyment, I have never, NEVER downloaded even one piece of pirated music. I am not necessarily even opposed to the practice, but many sites and fans have taken it way too far, fully knowing there would be consequences to pay at some point down the road. Are some of those consequences embodied in SOPA? Maybe, but they are mild at best. Hey, I hate the music industry as much as anyone, but the assholes who perpetually steal copyrighted material and self-righteously justify it by saying the artists don’t get any money for it anyway is the direct cause of the SOPA legislation.

Another issue here is that I have very little faith in this legislation passing. As everyone wants to blame this side, or that side of the political isle for their own personal problems, or blame Bush or Obama, right under our noses, the greatest obstructionist in the history of The United States of America, Harry Reed, has been killing all manner of legislation to perpetually save issues for upcoming political seasons stretching now into two decades. All the more reason to flip the bird to the whole political process, which this SOPA law, AND the SOPA opposition propaganda machine are intrinsically a part of.

Do I have some problems with the SOPA legislation? Yes. Do I hope it passes? No. But I would be fucking embarrassed to be part of this bullshit propaganda pop culture mob mentality lie machine being perpetuated on the internet right now by big name internet franchises.

Quit waiting for laws being passed thousands of miles away to effect you. Nothing is more oppressive then the restrictions we all put on ourselves every day. Don’t allow yourself to be lied to, make up your own mind. These are my opinions, and that’s all they are. My suggestion is not for you to follow them, but to become informed, and make your opinions about SOPA for yourself.

As for me, I’ll worry about it when the men with guns arrive. Until then, it is irrelevant.